The Energy Minister says residents of Krobo Odumase in the Eastern Region, were justified in protesting the outrageous electricity bills they had been receiving from the power distributors company.
“I support the people of Krobo Odumase 100% for demanding their rights because I will not tolerate such nonsense,” John Peter Amewu stated Monday when he visited the family of the little boy who lost his life when the protesting youth clashed with the police last week.
The 14-year-old Thomas Partey was hit by a stray bullet after security officers fired shots to dispel the crowd who had mounted roadblocks ostensibly to prevent staff of Power Distributing Company (PDS) from switching off the main transformer that supplies power to the town.
Why did they protest?
The residents had insisted that the bills were outrageous and demanded the power company investigates the cause of the sudden rise.
Last Wednesday’s clashes also saw several others hospitalised after they sustained varied injuries. The police further arrested at least 35 individuals for their roles in the disturbance.
Following the violent clash, a meeting was held between the community elders, Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) and the PDS, where the distributor announced it had “cleansed” its billing system to reflect the actual debt owed by the residents.
This means the residents now have to settle a total of ¢84,625,624.87 instead of the initial ¢111,099,875, the PDS communicated after the meeting.
Condoling with the family of the deceased teenager, Mr Amewu described the development as “totally uncalled for”.
“If you are billing somebody on a wrong metre, of course, you [consumers] have every justification to demand the right thing to be done.
“I have seen it [bill], the bill is not working and you have given me money to pay and I have every right to query the authorities that are responsible,” he held the view of the residents.
Why PDS was brought in
He stressed that it is situations like the Odumase incident that compelled the government to introduce PDS improve service delivery in the power sector.
“We brought in PDS to change the system [so] if they are not able to change the system we as well as ask them to leave. We are not bringing them into this system to continue to add to the existing malpractice and nonsense that we have [in the system], that is not the reason why we brought them,” he stressed.
He pledged government’s support for the bereaved family towards the funeral and burial of the teenager and assured his determination to ensure justice is served to the family.
“Government will unveil the issue that brought about the issue resulting in the death of the 14-year-old [and] will interrogate the perpetrators and bring them to book,” he said.